The best and brightest in college football were honored at the annual awards ceremony on Thursday night.
Jameis Winston was by far the biggest winner.
Before the show, he was announced as the winner of the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award. The redshirt freshman would go on to add the Davey O'Brien Award to his trophy closet.
He became the third FSU QB to win the award.
Jameis Winston: 3rd Florida State player to win the Davey O'Brien award, joining Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2013
Nobody can be too surprised that Winston took home so many honors. He's been one of the best players in college football this year and is the odds-on favorite to take home the Heisman Trophy on Saturday.
Florida State as a whole cleaned up on Thursday night. Bryan Stork won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's top center, and Roberto Aguayo took home the Lou Groza Award as the top placekicker.
No wonder the Seminoles are in the national championship.
It was assumed by many that Winston would win the Maxwell Award as well, but that ended up going to AJ McCarron. Even McCarron was surprised at the announcement, as the senior QB acknowledged upon receipt that he didn't think he was the best player among Winston, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and him.
Another one of the big winners was Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald. He was the recipient of the Nagurski, Lombardi, Outland and Bednarik awards. It's a bit of a shame that Heisman voters are loath to give credit to defensive players like Donald; he should at least get an invite to New York.
His performance this year was one of the few things that Panthers fans could get excited about.
Donald is in uncharted territory at Pitt, as nobody at the school has ever won four awards in one season.
One of the more touching moments from the evening was when John Gagliardi won the NCFAA Contributions to College Football Award. Gagliardi is a coaching legend for what he did at St. John's, and the ESPN broadcast had a video tribute befitting his incredible career.
"Football is the greatest game ever invented.” - John Gagliardi— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) December 13, 2013
He coached for a whopping 64 years, the most ever in college football.
John Gagliardi honored for Contributions to College Football at #CFBAwards - Gagliardi’s 64 years of college coaching are the most all-time— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2013
Another emotional moment came when Devon Walker won the Disney Spirit Award. The former Tulane safety suffered a neck injury during a game against Tulsa in 2012. The entire crowd gave him a standing ovation when he came out onto the stage to accept the award.
He briefly spoke about the support of his teammates after winning the award via ESPN.com: "They were there for me everyday I was in the hospital. It's like a family."
Now, college football fans only have to wait a few more days for the culmination of awards season with the Heisman awarded on Saturday. It's possibly telling that McCarron won the Maxwell. Only twice since 2000 has the winner of the Heisman Trophy also won the Maxwell Award.
In case you missed it or haven't been keeping track, here's a list of the awards that have been handed out so far this year.
|Johnny Unitas Golden Arm||AJ McCarron||Alabama|
|John Mackey||Austin Seferian-Jenkins||Washington|
|Rimington||Bryan Stork||Florida State|
|Bronco Nagurski||Aaron Donald||Pittsburgh|
|Vince Lombardi||Aaron Donald||Pittsburgh|
|Walter Camp||Jameis Winston||Florida State|
|Ted Hendricks||Jackson Jeffcoat||Texas|
|Doak Walker||Andre Williams||Boston College|
|Fred Biletnikoff||Brandin Cooks||Oregon State|
|Lou Groza||Roberto Aguayo||Florida State|
|Jim Thorpe||Darqueze Dennard||Michigan State|
|Davey O'Brien||Jameis Winston||Florida State|
|Home Depot||Gus Malzahn||Auburn|
|Ray Guy||Tom Hornsey||Memphis|
|Chuck Bednarik||Aaron Donald||Pittsburgh|